of text books and Texas

NO! in TX, babies are brought by armadillos. quit trying to violate Calliope Jane’s virgin ears, asshole!

you may have heard something sometime about some people in TX fucking with some textbooks and how it may screw with the education of children across the country. you may have even heard it from some dearly deluded Going For A Photo Where You Can’t Tell He’s Wearing A Toupee person in your favorite liberal publication’s comments section. this is not exactly accurate anymore. 

yes, TX has some of the heavy hitters in the textbook market, but that doesn’t mean that the SBOE goofs are going to end up in your textbooks. despite meddling by the SBOE (which is a 15 member board of unpaid elected officials who “decide curriculum” for the state–most of these people are independently wealthy and many either home school their children or send the kids to private schools…which probably explains Ken Mercer’s obsession with paddling spanking), the text book companies often put out more than one text book on each subject and even more than one version of each text book to comply with a given client’s state’s curriculum standards.

they also employ some writers. I’ll let the Trib go into more detail about how that makes all this hand wringing pretty useless. 

there is the matter of the Mexican-American Heritage Textbook which came from Momentum Instruction (a bit player) whose CEO Cynthia Dunbar was already full of conservative suck sauce and used to sit on the SBOE. someone may want to look into whether she’s been self-dealing like a common Trump–if she was, that should solve two problems with one gavel.

furthermore, if we’re going to talk about what bad textbooks do to children in TX, we should talk about which schools actually get stuck with the books: the poor ones. all Texas school districts are independent school districts and so they get a greater degree of latitude in designing curriculum. however, they don’t get enough help from the state and if they want the state to pay for their textbooks, they have to adopt the ones which were approved by the SBOE. and that’s really shitty. I was in Eanes ISD so I got good textbooks, the kids in Hidalgo Co. didn’t–much like everything else.

but it’s not just the high minority population areas that fall into this category, it’s also the rural ones–which explains a lot about the relationship between Billy Bob and his pig in Varsity Blues.

rural school districts have less money because a) less people, b) more tax easements on larger properties that are worth less and c) more tax exemptions related to agriculture and ranching.

should you worry a bit about the SBOE finally being evil enough to slip a few word changes into your textbooks? maybe. but you shouldn’t be near as worried about that as you should be about Kenny Goldsmith directing his students to change the prepositions, articles and conjunctions on Wikipedia which are more difficult to detect as alterations, but change the whole meaning of sentences anyway.

also, while I adore Gail Collins, her criticism (and Molly’s and Jim’s and the fine people at the Texas Observer who have carried on in their steads) has resulted in several statutory changes which significantly limit the SBOE’s ability to fuck with any of us. that is a job that they think is best left to appointed commissioners.

so don’t take advice from digital pastiche, okay?



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